Beyond Physio - What I do now
I've spent 2 decades years studying movement. I'm a UK Qualified Physio with 20 years of clinical experience, and have worked at the highest clinical levels of Physiotherapy both within the UK National Health Service (NHS) and privately. But why don't I call myself a physiotherapist anymore? Because I feel that what I do now goes beyond physio.
Physiotherapy is often focused one simple mechanical issue, due to time constraints and the way it is funded there is simply not the time needed to do any more - but this leads to short term fixes not long term freedom that is found from establishing and treating movement within the whole body.
Everyone is unique in the way they move, because of how they understand themselves, their experience and interaction with the world and the unique body they are using. Therefore my challenge is not so much to diagnose where the weak link or cause of their movement limitation is but in enabling the individual to understand what it is, why it is and how it can be changed and resolved for the better.
Quality of movement creates quality of life. Movement of the body doesn’t occur in isolated parts. It moves as a suspended interconnect structure and is very complex. Over years of working with patients and clients, studying, and personal training as an athlete I have gained an understanding of what ‘optimal’ is for a human body and therefore what is detrimental and damaging and how to facilitate recovery.
The way we hold ourselves and move our skeleton is dictated by many factors beyond the strengths and weaknesses of our muscles. The health of our nervous system, our lifestyle, our past, will all cause certain postures and movement patterns which may lead to break down and injury.
My assessment of an individual includes breathing, alignment both static and moving, functional exercise, activity and recovery. Then having seen me I expect individuals to be moving better than before the start of their problem, to have learned about their body, how to look after it more effectively and get optimal function and performance from it.
My approach in assessing clients and looking after myself as an athlete is focused on quality of movement. That is the freedom and control of movement that can be held at any moment in a static or dynamic alignment. I look at the movement of an individual outside of their sport or particular function to improve its quality and freedom before applying it within their sport and lifestyle. I then teach the skills of movement the make up an given activity.
I am passionate about people moving well in what ever way they want to and because I look at how they are moving as a human being before looking at how they are doing their activity or sport I make a much more significant impact by affecting what they are doing all the time not just in one part of their life. This also means the improvements in performance within a given sport are greater for the individual. Unlike most running coaches, I look at the individual as a whole in both being and moving. We are 1st and foremost human beings and movers who should be able to freely move and running more than any other activity will reveal where an individual isnt moving well in every part of their life.
So my approach is to assess an individual's posture and movements then look at how they impact their running efficiency.
Of course the other benefit of this approach is the individual will learn about themselves, be able to look after themselves more effectively and perform at a higher level physically in what ever they are doing as well as running. However to run well and avoid injury also requires specific skills and technique just like any other sport, so I also instruct drills and exercises specific to the individual as a coach.
There is no one way to run so I equip individuals with awareness of how they are currently running and then enable them to play and practice with different variables to find the best combination for any given distance and terrain.
I currently have my own movement studio in Oratia West Auckland and visit clients as far away as Hamilton and Whakatane. I see clients over a few sessions for a specific issue and I coach clients over a medium term to create habits and strategies that sustain physical capability and quality of life for their long term future. Sessions will be located where ever most appropriate, whether at a clients work place, swimming pool, mountain or my studio. I also have regular virtual consultations on Skype with clients all over the world, coaching them in their movement in there own home and from video footage.